Knocking down barriers:
How California superintendents are implementing blended learning


September 9, 2014

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By Michael B. Horn, Anna Gu, and Meg Evans

September 2014


School districts across the United States are implementing blended learning to boost student achievement. We convened several California school district superintendents to answer the question:

What are the barriers, real or perceived, to implementing blended learning in your district?

After a morning of answering that question, we then asked:

Have you found solutions to or ways around these barriers?

Given that 93 percent of California’s public school students are enrolled in district schools, the answers matter, as superintendents around the state struggle with antiquated regulations and processes that inhibit their ability to innovate and better serve students. Our hypothesis, borne out of the discussion, was that for each barrier one superintendent identified, another superintendent in the room would have a solution. This paper summarizes the answers to both of these questions. We hope it will help other California superintendents who are struggling to implement high-quality blended learning work around these barriers by employing cage-busting leadership.

The barriers the superintendents identified fell into three categories:

  1. Redesigning teacher roles given state policy and teachers union contract provisions;
  2. Purchasing and managing technology and infrastructure;
  3. Recognizing online classes as valid for the University of California and California State University systems.

Download the full policy brief


Michael is a co-founder and distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute. He currently serves as Chairman of the Clayton Christensen Institute and works as a senior strategist at Guild Education.